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Wynonna Earp experiences déjà vu as the world crumbles around her



Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Spoilers follow for Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 9, “Undo It.”

By the end of last week’s episode, Bulshar had officially risen. This week on Wynonna Earp, the crew is left figuring out how to handle a demon that is visibly in violation of like 14 fashion police statutes.

“Undo It” begins the way every episode of Wynonna Earp should (frankly) begin – Waverly and Nicole in the midst of their Wayhaught shenanigans. As happens with many of us, their moaning O-faces were a result of them struggling to pry Bulshar’s ring off Waverly’s finger. When the excess lube doesn’t help, Haught sets off to the Earp barn, where Wynonna and Vamp Doc pried some other non-demonic things off each other. The only caveat here, of course, being Bulshar having WynDoc under his evil dandelion remnant-spell we saw him use at the conclusion of last week’s episode.

Wynonna manages to snap out of the spell for a quick second with just enough time to knock out a number of rejected extras from Monty Python And The Holy Grail and refer to Bulshar as “Ballshaft.” Ballshaft realizes Wynonna will not go down without a fight (because she is Wynonna. Freaking. Earp.) so he decides on fulfilling the nightmare every human being dreads – enduring a Happy Groundhog Run Lola Death Day scenario where you constantly die and come back to life while a terrible Powerpoint presentation plays in the background. I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this dreadful thought.

After being poison darted, spiked in the eye and acid-ed (somehow), Wynonna refuses the advice Doc gives her which is to “stop and think” and “be methodical,” because planning ahead is for nerds. Bulshar ups the ante by placing Wynonna at the Homestead, where we learn Doc is slowly being buried alive as she moves around Fantasy Bulshar World. Wynonna encounters Bobo in the barn and explores the definition of insanity (doing the same thing multiple times expecting different results) by killing him over a thousand times, leading to Doc’s imminent burial. She takes a different approach for the 1,001st time and actually talks to the well-dressed revenant. She pleads for his help in the fight against Bulshar, but Bobo feels defeated and that terrifies me. Throughout Wynonna Earp, I truly felt like Bobo had the consistent upper hand during any instance involving danger, including those during his well days. If he believes Wynonna will give up fighting Bulshar’s reign… then what fate possibly remains for those left in Purgatory? They simultaneously stab each other and as a pool of blood grows below her, I’m left with a pang in my heart striving for some good to come for our Earp crew.

During Wynonna’s time in Bulsharland, Wayhaught heads to the Gardner estate, where we get a glimpse of our beloved Mercedes post-Face/Off op trying to break into the Gardner safe. The trio encounter creepy demon jeweller Derek, who threatens Mercedes and Haught if Waverly doesn’t give him the ring by any means necessary. What does that entail? Cutting that beautiful angelic finger clean off. What course of action does Waverly take? SHE BURNS THE GUY’S FREAKIN’ FACE OFF. From her Wonder Woman punch of last week and this week’s gradual mutant abilities shining, I cannot wait to see how Waverly’s powers progress. While I’m not certain whether they’re solely a result of the ring or Waverly’s own badass self, seeing her come to terms with her newfound abilities is a prospect I’m dying for more of. A team-up episode where an entire day is spent with Wynonna quipping, Waverly Falcon-punching and Haught shooting a truckload of revenant scum? Sign me up.

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 9 – Undo It. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 9 – Undo It. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Jeremy and Wayhaught investigate the woods, where they find displays made by the Blair Witch during her exploration phase. They find Bobo’s body where he reveals Bulshar is indeed one with the trees. When Waverly pushes him against a tree, Bobo ponders whether she found her father’s ring or if the ring found her (while Earpers are all here wondering, “Wait, her *father’s* ring?!”). Wynonna ultimately rescues Doc from a lifetime of finding dirt in places it doesn’t belong. She uses Peacemaker to seemingly Infinity War Bulshar away and they walk through the “red Narnia door” Wynonna believes is the way out of this ride that never ends. When we return to the barn, we’re briefly led to believe the curse is over. However, we’re right back to square one of Bulsharland and all hope is lost forever. Bulshar needs Peacemaker in order to make his Paradise dream a reality and in his fantasy world, he can seemingly bring to fruition any of Wynonna’s fears. We all know nothing can truly faze the Earp heir with the exception of one minor vice – the unmitigated love she has for her core crew. Bulshar knows this and utilizes her fear of her loved ones enduring harm against her. You see, this is why I don’t have any friends.

JerWayhaught find WynDoc trapped in a Blair Witch project and manages to wake them up. While the jubilation sets in that they’re finally out, we learn Bulshar now has the key needed to enter Paradise in the form of Peacemaker. With the King of Cat Barf now in possession of Wyatt Earp’s gun, is all hope lost forever for the residents of Purgatory? Not necessarily. We cut to a fully-healed Mercedes Gardner as she removes her bandages and thanks everyone’s favourite “sweet little lesbian” Waverly Earp for curing her. Earlier in the episode, we got a glimpse of what Heaven most likely looks like as a place on Earth when Waverly gently caressed Mercedes’ demolished-looking face. Is Waverly Earp the key to defeating Bulshar? Are Niagara Falls oven mitts going to be all the rage this coming season? I guess all we can do is wait and see what else occurs during another day in Purgatory!

“Undo It” executes one of my personal favourite narrative devices commonly used in TV and film: the “Groundhog Day Loop.” Seeing how characters attempt to work their way around a nearly impossible scenario has always fascinated me, as I constantly place myself in their shoes and wonder what I would do if faced with this task. Spoiler alert: I’d probably just cry uncontrollably until the entity involved with placing me in this situation grew tired of my incessant wailing.

It’s certainly nothing new to say Melanie Scrofano is an absolute revelation in her role as Wynonna Earp, however certain episodes come about that make you realize just how phenomenal she is and what an absolute honour it is watching her work. When Wynonna’s growing frustration reaches its climax and she starts back at square one, it is unbelievably compelling just seeing the sense of dread wash over her face as she struggles to figure out her next move. I’ve made my Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Scrofano love widely known, so I am counting down the days until we see the Earp sisters rightly strike down upon those who dare trespass them.

My 3 Favourite W’s of the Episode

I would now like to turn your attention to my 3 Favourite W’s for this episode of Wynonna Earp. These consist of favourite Wynonna Insult, Wayhaught Moment and Waverly Expression – the three pillars of any Wynonna Earp episode.

Wynonna Insult: “Even for a million-year-old Hell monster you… look like cat barf.”

Wayhaught Moment: There are key quotes in media that have become synonymous with true love – “You had me at hello” / “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” / “I wish I knew how to quit you.” I would like to formally announce my campaign to add the following Nicole Haught line to this list: “When we get that thing off… We get off.”

Waverly Expression: 

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 9 – Undo It. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 9 – Undo It. Photo courtesy Bell Media

What did you think of “Undo It”? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.

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Honey Bee is a revealing look at human trafficking in Canada



Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.
Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment

Honey Bee director Rama Rau may be known to Canadian audiences mostly due to her acclaimed work in documentary, including League of Exotique Dancers (2015) and No Place to Hide (2015) – the former profiling aging burlesque dancers and the latter taking a focus on the world of cyberbullying.

But though Honey Bee marks Rau’s narrative feature debut, her instincts honed in documentary filmmaking remain essential, as much of the film is shot as though it were a documentary feature.

“I think that was key in telling the story, for me,” Rau said. “The actors were never acting – they were always in that state.”

Much of the film’s dramatic power is supplied by lead actress Julia Sarah Stone, who plays Natalie, an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.

“She was literally the crux of the film. She was everything,” Rau said. “When I saw her audition, and I looked at a lot of auditions, I really wanted her to be in my film.”

Rau spoke with The Mutt about Stone, transitioning from documentary filmmaking and the too-infrequently discussed prevalence of human trafficking in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: So tell me about Honey Bee.

RAMA RAU: It’s about a girl groomed from the foster home system and put into a human trafficking ring. She thinks the person grooming her is her boyfriend. That’s how they get young girls from the foster care system in Canada. Then, she’s caught in a police raid and sent to a farm and the movie really begins there, her coming to terms with what has happened. A lot of it is her finding herself.

TM: What were your first thoughts when you initially read the script?

RR: I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I was stunned that these things happen in Canada. I wondered if I wanted this to be my debut feature. But it’s never frightened me to go into the underbelly of society. But films have the power to open up areas that we don’t normally talk about. I also said as a woman director I can bring a certain perspective to it. And I found my way into the story, and said, “This is how I’m going to do it, and if you’re OK with it, I’m happy to work on this film.”

TM: What were those specific elements you wanted to bring to the film?

RR: I knew I wanted it to be totally told from the perspective of Natalie, from her POV. I knew I wanted it to be a very personal film. In documentary, we use handheld cameras a lot. We literally run behind our characters. I wanted that sense of urgency in this film. We kind of blurred the lines between fiction and fact. I wanted to go so deep into the story, so the audience never knows, “Is this a real story, or is this a person acting? Does this really happen in Canada?”  [There was a scene where] and we ran behind [Natalie] like we were a camera crew.

TM: This film is obviously so based on character and Natalie’s experience. Do you think approaching things with that documentary mentality, did that help you capture small character moments?

RR: Yes, absolutely. I think that was key in telling the story. For me, the actors were never acting, they were always in that state. I encouraged them to be that way for as long as we were filming. I think they really took that to heart. They really lived their characters, and that was so rewarding for the camera because the camera picked up every little twitch of the cheek and movement of the eyebrow. I think that really lent to the authenticity. I even told Ryan (Steven Love), I want you to not talk too much to the women and I want them to hate you by the end of the film. So it’s really beyond method acting, it’s really living and being that character for that period of time.

TM: Having someone capable in the lead is obviously very important, because you need someone who is able to deliver that authenticity. How important was it having Stone in that role?

RR: Oh my god, she was literally the crux of the film. She was everything. I know she did so much research. I think she really carries the film on her shoulders. That’s why I had to choose such a strong actor like Martha to offset Julia’s stunning performance. I got so lucky in getting such great actors. God knows what I would have done if Julia wouldn’t have been able to deliver, because the film is totally based on every nuance of her face.

TM: Why would you recommend people check out the film?

RR: I think human trafficking in Ontario is not talked about enough. I think people watching this film will find a way into thinking about it. It’s not a news item. It’s more of a story of a girl who has been through the sex trade and has been bartered like a piece of furniture. I think we need to give these girls a voice. Since documentaries on these subjects can’t be made because it brings a lot of danger to their lives, these sort of films based on social issues is what opens up peoples’ minds to these sorts of issues. That’s why I think this film is crucial for people to watch if we have to tackle things like human trafficking in Ontario.

Honey Bee opened in select theatres on Sept. 20 and will be available on Video on Demand on Dec. 10.

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Calgary Underground Film Festival

Director Rob Grant on the tension (and dark comedy) of HARPOON



From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Photo courtesy CUFF
From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival April 28. Photo courtesy CUFF

Adrift on the seas on a luxury yacht, three friends find themselves stranded without food or supplies and quickly realize their survival is less than assured. An official selection at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019, Harpoon made its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) April 28. The film will release on VOD in Canada on October 15.

The Mutt spoke with director Rob Grant prior to the film’s screening at CUFF 2019. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of Harpoon?

ROB GRANT: I had a great relationship with my producers (Knuckleball director Michael Peterson and Kurtis Harder) from a film called Fake Blood. I pitched Mr. Peterson on this idea that was a mix between Polanski’s Knife on the Water but by way of Seinfeld characters on the boat. I grew up in Vancouver, and the original idea was, “Well, I spent a lot of time on a boat, we could go take a boat out to the ocean and try to isolate ourselves out there.” Once a budget came into play and the idea grew, suddenly we were shooting the interiors of the boat in a set in the middle of freezing winter in Calgary, and shooting the exteriors on a boat in tropical Belize down south.

TM: Was it difficult for you to balance those comedic elements and still find a way to ratchet up the tension?

RG: It was very difficult, and there were a lot of discussions about that. When you have to give the elevator pitch, you have to say: “This is the genre and this is what it means.” But I subscribe to the logic that in life you can feel in one moment that you’re in a love story and the next minute in a horror movie, and that’s the way real life actually works. But it seems a little more rigid in movies. We were aware of potentially disrupting viewers’ experiences of watching the movie. (We thought) a movie could, or should, be multiple things at once. We’re willing to accept that there’s going to be some audience members that are going to reject that as a movie experience, but we wanted to try it.

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

TM: Can you tell me more about those influences you mentioned? I’m curious about how you mixed something like Seinfeld with more traditional thriller elements.

RG: Hitchcock’s Lifeboat was definitely in there, as well as Polanski’s Knife in the Water. But I had to still find the dark humour in it, and Seinfeld came up specifically because as much as we all find the Seinfeld characters enduring, they’re very much in it for themselves. They’re worried about their own outcomes. So I tried to use a lot of that. As much as these people like to say they’re looking out for each other, the second it becomes a survival story they’re all kind of in it for themselves. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia was another one, not only for mixing drama and humour, but definitely because the narration was less focused. It sets up what’s going to happen without speaking to much on the nose about what you’re about to see.

TM: I understand there’s some great gore and effects in Harpoon. What was your approach to that, and what effect do you think that has? 

RG: I’ve explored the effects of violence in cinema with Fake Blood, and this was an extension of that. The entire movie, these people speak very casually and aloof about the things that potentially will need to be done without actually considering what that entails until suddenly when it happens. I felt like it would be a good idea to make sure that was extremely violent and horrible, not only because we’ve been teasing up to this moment, but I do believe there’s a certain element that people do not consider the actual realities of having to do something like that. So it’s very shocking, very brutal, it’s like, “ha ha ha this was all funny to discuss” and now that it’s happened it sucks the wind out of you. That was a very intentional decision.

TM: What do you think Harpoon does in a unique way when compared to other similar films? What do you hope the audience walks away with?

RG: I hope when people leave the cinema that it wasn’t the movie they were expecting, that it was a little bit of a different take. I do think it’ll challenge them depending what their expectations are. I just hope they’re expecting something interesting in the genre, and that they’re along for the ride.

Harpoon will be released on VOD in Canada on October 15.

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There Are No Fakes is a shocking journey into the world of art fraud



Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions
Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Some of the best documentaries of the past two decades involve hard left turns – films that begin in one direction but end in another due to events that unfolded during production. There Are No Fakes, directed by Jamie Kastner, joins that select company of documentary as its comedic opening slowly morphs into something much darker.

There Are No Fakes centers on the work of Norval Morrisseau, the Indigenous Canadian artist of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation, sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Morrisseau, who died in 2007, sought to remove forgeries of his art from the marketplace, establishing the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society in 2005.

After Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies fame) buys one of Morrisseau’s paintings, he starts to doubt its authenticity and discovers a bizarre feud consolidated around Morrisseau. It’s this conflict, and the dark secrets hidden beneath it, that form the backdrop of There Are No Fakes.

Kastner (The Secret Disco Revolution, Free Trade Is Killing My Mother), who was friends with Hearn in high school, learned through conversation about Hearn’s ongoing lawsuit surrounding the Morrisseau paintings. It became clear to Kastner that such a story would be perfect for his next project.

“It was almost unbelievable. There was so much crazy stuff in this story, I couldn’t quite believe it,” Kastner said. “I told him if I was going to proceed with it, though we were friends he would have no editorial control. As a journalist, I would be talking to both sides, and he agreed.

“I went off on my own doing my own kind of digging and research. Lo and behold, everything he told me and then some turned out to be the case.”

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the "Picasso of the North". Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

As the story unfolded and as Kastner continued to meet a succession of larger-than-life characters, he found himself shocked at what he uncovered. Bringing footage back to his editor provoked a similar reaction.

“He’d say, ‘Holy f***!’ Then I’d do another one, and he’s quite an even-keeled guy, and he’d say ‘holy f***,’” Kastner said. “So it was a series of ‘holy f***’ moments. I tried to recreate that experience for the audience.”

Documentaries can often unfold much as expected, with a known story dictating the outcome of the production. But given the fluid situation surrounding the events of There Are No Fakes, Kastner followed the story as it led him, knowing he had been handed an incredible gift.

“It’s definitely a privilege and a responsibility (to tell this story). You’re dealing with the legacy of one of our most important artists,” he said. “You wind up dealing with very serious issues of abuse of different kinds, so I felt a real responsibility.

“You have to handle it very carefully as a documentary filmmaker. It really is so unique and unusual and special and horrific and inspiring and a whole range of things that you don’t usually get in one film.”

There Are No Fakes made its world premiere at Hot Docs 2019, receiving highly positive reviews. Kastner said the film provided fascinating insight into the legacy of Morrisseau, touching on multiple problems still at play in Canada.

“It’s a very dramatic story. People can’t believe that they’re real people. They seem like characters out of some HBO series or something,” Kastner said. “I think it’s a very entertaining, edge of your seat, jaw-dropping type of story that happens to be a documentary.”

There Are No Fakes will screen at multiple locations throughout Canada in July 2019. For more information, click here.

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